Blue Mountains News

New Fantasy Novel Set in Blue Mountains

By Jonathan Foye
Archived 17 Feb 2015 - Posted: 18 Dec 2014
The book's lavish cover art, by Jeremy Reston
Blue Mountains journalist, now published author, S.L Mills has used her first book to transform the spectacular World Heritage listed region into a fantasy world.

GOM’s Gold is a fantasy novel set in the Blue Mountains.  Orphaned twins Jolie and Joey spy a fairytale castle surrounded by rainbows high on a plateau above the sleepy town of Wattle Gum. Inhabited by a strange boy with a pet magpie and a grumpy old man, it is just too much for the twins to resist. They defy the warnings of townsfolk and cross the castle’s threshold. But they are soon separated and must battle powerful enemies to reunite and save the world.

Mountains setting

Mills decided to defy convention by setting GOM’s Gold in the Mountains.

“Typically, many in the industry say that fantasy cannot be set in Australia because readers expect a medieval European setting for the genre,” she said. “In that sense, Europe has a monopoly on European fantasy and North America tends to have a monopoly on the horror fantasy genre that includes novels such as Twilight. I was prepared to break the mold and take a risk with GOM’s Gold. I find it difficult to believe that fantasy cannot belong to such an ancient, mysterious and beautiful land as Australia.”

“I also think it is important for Australia to develop its own myths and magic, not just quietly consume the myths of other nations. I hope that GOM’s Gold will join the legions of brilliant creative efforts on this front, ranging from May Gibbs’ Snuggle Pot and Cuddlepie, to Dorothy Wall’s Blinky Bill and Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumbies of the South, and that it will prove a boon for the Blue Mountains."

GOM’s Gold is the latest of many creative projects in the Blue Mountains. According to the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise, the creative industries is the mountains’ third biggest economic driver and accounts for eight per cent of locally available jobs—more than double the national average and is one of the top five employment sectors in the Blue Mountains.

Debut book

Mills was a journalist for many years, having trained as a cadet with Fairfax Media before leaving to pursue a creative career. She has a wide variety of literary influences—she lists her favourite books as Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Joseph Hellier’s Catch 22.

GOM’s Gold is self-published. Mills found the process challenging but exciting, and has shared her 'discoveries' from this experience on the book’s website.

“Publishing a printed book is far more satisfying than publishing an electronic book,” she writes. “The excitement of having a truck pull up and deliver two palettes full of boxes (which are full of your treasured oeuvres) and drag them into your garage is a real buzz.”

“Then comes the joy of getting a knife and slashing open the nearest book so you can hold it in your hand, take a selfie, and post it on your Facebook page! E-books, in comparison, are so ho-hum.”

Beth Norling illustrated the book's interior art, with Jeremy Reston illustrating the cover.

International best selling Australian author Kate Forsyth launched GOM's Gold at the Everglades Historic House and Gardens in Leura on 7 December.  A prolific writer of children’s and adult fantasy, Forysth has recently moved into the realm of historic fiction with her novels Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl.

GOM’s Gold is available at Megalong Books in Leura, Gleebooks in Blackheath, and The Turning Page Bookshop in Springwood.

S.L Mills will be signing copies of the book at Katoomba Big W on 27 December, between 11.30am and 1pm. 

This article archived 17 Feb 2015

S.L Mills at a Katoomba signing
GOM's Gold by S.L Mills
S.L Mills at the launch of GOM's Gold at Leura's Everglade's Hotel, 7 December 2014
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